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February 27, 2005

Chris DiMarco


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Runner up Chris DiMarco, congratulations on a great week at the Accenture Match Play Championship. You ran into a buzz saw today in David Toms, a good friend of yours, played great these last two matches. You were a victim of that. Comment about today and your week.

CHRIS DiMARCO: He played great. That's first and foremost, you have to take your hat off to him.

Usually for me when I have a chance to win tournaments, it's how I started the tournaments. I started out great today. I hit a great shot into 1 and lipped out, birdied 3 to go 1 up. He made a great birdie on 4. We both parred 5 and 6. Then I hit it three feet to 7. I'm 3 under through 7, feeling pretty good about my game, and I'm only 1 up. We both parred 8, so not bad. And then on 9, I should have stepped away. There was a cell phone that went off, not any excuse all, I should have stepped away. He took my concentration just a little bit. And I pulled it a hair left and made bogey.

We were all square at the turn. All square is fine. And then he just went on a birdie barrage. He birdied five of the first six, and then I helped him out by making bad bogeys on 16 and 17, and I was lucky to make birdie on 18. To lose 9 and lose eight holes eight holes and nine holes is tough to do, tough to come back from.

You've got to take your hat off to him. I think he was 20 under the last two days. That's good golf on that golf course.

Q. Did you try to say anything to try to throw him off his game? You guys are such good friends.

CHRIS DiMARCO: I asked him at the intermission, between the two 18's, I said, "Have you been hitting your irons like that all week?" He said, "I've been hitting them like that all week." I felt like I was hitting the ball pretty good. I think you can maybe the first nine holes I putted very good. I didn't particularly putt great, probably the next so many holes, I don't even know how many, and that's how it was this week. It was a putting was streaky.

You got on streaks where the balls rolled good, and a couple of bounces and you started thinking, and that's what happened to me. He kind of rolled it good all day.

Q. Is it easier to take knowing that I know you're out here to win, but is it sort of easier to take than when a guy just absolutely has such a great round, no matter what you do

CHRIS DiMARCO: It's certainly easier to take that way. Obviously I got beat today. I was 3 under for the day in the 30 holes we played. So you look at that and you go, God, you lose 6 down and you're 3 under; that means he played good for 30 holes. This is not an easy golf course. It is easier to take that way.

If I had went out and played horrible and was 3 or 4 over par, then that wouldn't have sat well. But I didn't play great by any means, but I played okay. Again, three or four putts fall here or there, and all of a sudden we might still be playing.

Q. Did you have to go for more pins?

CHRIS DiMARCO: That's the thing; I've been talking about that all week. If you're up, which I was most of the round, and I was content with hitting it in the fairway, putting it on the green and trying to make putts. When you get 4 down, especially when when I got 4 down through 14, and we went to 15, I felt like he had another great iron shot in there, about 12 feet underneath the hole, I had to start going at pins now, making sure I get it back there. I hit a good shot that didn't back up, and he made birdie.

The next hole he hit it just short of the green, and I hit a pretty good 5 iron in there, 30 feet right, and ran it by 12 feet and missed that.

And then 17 I missed my drive and hit a good chip, I thought, went by 12 feet. It was one of those deals. When you run into somebody like that, just the wheels were falling off, there's no doubt about it. Thankfully we had an intermission, where I could gather myself. I birdied 18 to be 6 down; I was hoping I wasn't 8 down after the first 18.

Q. When did you know it was over?

CHRIS DiMARCO: You know what, to be honest with you, if he doesn't make that putt on No. 13 we're still out there, because I'm making that putt. And you never know. That was the thing, I told Pat, I told my caddie, he made a great birdie on 11 after I hit I had won 9 and 10 to go only 7 down, I know that sounds like a lot, but being 9 down, 7 is a lot better than 9. And I put it on the green about 20 feet for eagle. If I win that hole, I'm 6 down. I still have a hole to where I can tie one.

So I was telling my caddie, if we can get it to 3 or 4, at least he starts thinking about it. He said heck, we have to still play golf. He was very comfortable out there, being 6 , 7 , 8 up throughout the whole day is going to help you be comfortable.

Q. Must feel like you were hit by a sledgehammer, you walk off 17 green

CHRIS DiMARCO: It was tough to hit that tee ball on 18. I was hoping it wasn't only an 8 hole match. If we had been done at 15, it would be great. Golly, what am I going to lose 13 and whatever, 13 and 12 holes left? I didn't know what was going to happen. Again, I mean, you've just got to take your hat off to David Toms. He played great. He hit almost every fairway, I think he made one bogey today. I think they said it's four for the week. One against me in 30 holes. He could have made more than that; that would have been better for me.

But he had some opportunities, too, where he ran some putts four, five, six feet by, and he made every one of those putts coming back. I know on 12, after winning 9, 10 and 11, I putted up for gimme and he had 15 footer, he ran it by six, seven feet. That's a big putt; if he misses that, I've got another kick in my step. Well, now he made it, so all the momentum kept on his side.

I wasn't getting the best bounces out there. I know that that's cliche, but you can tell when you're going to win tournaments, and when you're going to win tournaments the ball bounces your way. I got a bad bounce on 14 on the first one; it landed seven yards in the fairway and kicked and went six inches in the heavy rough and I laid up. He was probably going to make birdie there, anyway. You can tell.

And when I hit somebody, I hit somebody on 3, if it doesn't hit them, it hits the cart path up there and I have sand wedge, it kicks back and in the main rough and I can't even get to the green. So it was just one of those days.

Q. When things are snowballing like they are on the backside, do you do something to change momentum, walk slower, faster, anything to get him out of his rhythm?

CHRIS DiMARCO: You try. Again, my caddie was telling me, it's like you're not hitting bad shots. That was the thing, I was not hitting God awful shots. Every iron shot was pretty crisp. My driver was almost all the fairways I missed except for one on the front side, the 4th hole. Every other one was within three yards of being in the fairway, the ones that I did miss. And I wasn't I didn't play terrible.

Again, the greens I didn't make as many putts as I did maybe the first few days. I know I made a lot of putts against Jay, I made some good putts against Stewart and some good putts against Retief. And I made some good putts against David, but I didn't keep it up for the whole time, I didn't put the pressure on, which is what he did.

Q. The cell phone incident, were you in your backswing when you heard it?

CHRIS DiMARCO: You know, that's why it was my fault, because I was still over the ball, and I had not I had time to think about, oh, that's a cell phone, and I still went ahead and hit it, where I should have just stepped back, said something funny, "hey, can we turn that off" or something, and got back in my routine. Just that brief instant of me getting out of it and thinking about something else and hitting a bad shot.

Q. How often does that happen on Tour?

CHRIS DiMARCO: It happens a lot. I can only blame myself for not stepping back. I had time to step back, and I've got to be the one in that situation to step back.

Q. In all the years you've played golf, amateur, pro, and of course you don't play much match play as a pro, but have you been on either side before where you were routing somebody or have been routed, and do you think about that when you're playing today?

CHRIS DiMARCO: That's the worst beating I've taken, for sure. I know that when I won the Western Amateur back in the late '80s that sounds like a long time ago there was two or three times where I was 4 down with six to go, and came back and won the matches. So you always think about that. Obviously it was an amateur tournament and you weren't playing David Toms who was hitting the ball perfect.

Again, I can't do anything but take my hat off to him, he just played great.

Q. You made the point when he got off to that big lead, you didn't want to be embarrassed out there?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Absolutely. When I was 9 down, going to the 9th tee, if he wins the hole, wins the 9th hole it's over, 10 and 9. We were a lot closer to the clubhouse, which would have been great, we were right there (laughter). At some point your pride comes into it, sure, and maybe I freewheeled it a little bit the last few holes knowing it didn't matter if I missed the putt, it was over anyway. I hit the putts with more speed, and I was happy to make them. Maybe I was tentative earlier.

Q. Your best payday ever?

CHRIS DiMARCO: I think it is, yeah. I think Phoenix I won $720,000. This was better. Considering we had a smooth $19,600 going into this week, I feel pretty good now (laughter). So it wasn't really my this tournament made the West Coast a good West Coast for me. I've had good West Coasts the last five years, which has propelled me to the top 20 in the Money List. That's my goal every year, this may catapult me to doing bigger and better things.

I'm certainly a lot happier going into the next few weeks with the way I'm striking the ball. I'm striking the ball very good, and the putter really worked very well this week, for the greens. For as much people that complained about the greens, I made a lot of putts this week. I can take a lot back from that.

Q. On TV they said you had 12 putts on the front nine, and you were still even?

CHRIS DiMARCO: That's what I'm saying, exactly. I putted great. I made three birdies and I think I missed probably three greens. And got them up and down. Exactly, and 12 putts on these greens, considering how everyone else talked about them, is pretty good.

Q. You've seen some good performances firsthand, guys that have beat you. How does the way that David played stack up with them?

CHRIS DiMARCO: With the way he played against Ian and the way he played against me, I think those are probably two of the best back to back rounds that you can see. I knew how great he was playing, and I was very relieved to be 1 up through six and then I hit that great shot into 7, and I'm thinking, okay, we're going to go 2 up.

And he made just made a great putt to not go 2 down. That was a big putt. Because 2 down gives me a lot more confidence, and 2 down makes him think a little bit more. That was a momentum putt, for sure.

Q. Did you see any of the highlights?

CHRIS DiMARCO: A lot of them. Going 3, 2, 3 on No. 11 is pretty good.

Q. You're a good friend, we know this, and David has won a major, and yet he doesn't have a reputation of perhaps the top four or five golfers in the world. How good is this guy?

CHRIS DiMARCO: I think he was getting there. I think he was there and then he got hurt, and I think he took a lot of time off last year. He didn't play up to his standards. He won a tournament, I know that. He didn't make THE TOUR Championship, which I know he's made for six or seven years in a row, and basically that was because of the injury. He just didn't play enough tournaments.

I think everybody kind of forgets about him a little bit because of that. You don't forget about David Toms, because he's a good player. He's definitely a top 5 player in the world, without a doubt.

End of FastScripts.

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